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Bilingual candidates have advantage in job search

Learning a foreign language could give you skills that would help you get a job, according to Joshua Evans, Central Oregon Community College Assistant Professor of Spanish.

Evans believes knowing a second language gives potential employees a “leg up” in comparison to non-bilingual applicants.
“I think it helps students entering today’s workforce,” Evans said. “Especially with Spanish, bilingual candidates will have an advantage.”
Foreign languages such as spanish are important now, and will become increasingly important as immigration continues, Evans said.
“There is an increasingly large number of mainly Spanish speaking citizens,” Evans said. “I feel it is almost a kind of civic responsibility to know Spanish nowadays.”
Along with Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, German and French are also increasing in importance , according to Evans.
“Chinese is going to be huge with regards to commerce in the future,” Evans said.
Kirsten Larwin, instructor of french at COCC, said that French is now being spoken all over the world.
“I think that learning a foreign language is an incredibly rewarding experience, and also one that requires a strong commitment.” Larwin said. “The ability to speak a foreign language absolutely gives a job applicant an advantage over his or her competitors . Prospective employers would almost certainly look favorably upon such a skill.”
Learning a language can help students not only in their career searches, but for those  seeking to “broaden their horizons” and learn about other cultures, Larwin explained.
“You uncover so much rich information about other cultures as you study a foreign language,” Larwin said.
By learning phrases and words of a new language, students are able to learn a little bit of the customs of a different culture, according to Larwin.
“Language is one of the ways a person can truly begin to understand another culture,” Larwin explained. “As students make discoveries about how the language works, it’s wonderful to see their horizons broaden as they gain insight into another part of the world.”
Evans agrees that being bilingual not only helps with career searches, but also with many other aspects of life.
“The phrase ‘being a citizen of the world’…learning second language definitely helps with that,” Evans explained. “Also, I would say language study translates well into certain aspects of being a musician.”
Due to his background in foreign language, Evans chose to raise his two-year-old daughter bilingual.
“I worked so hard to perfect my second language,” Evans said. “If it’s something I can pass on to her, then why not?”
Even though learning a language can be a difficult task, according to Larwin, students should try to focus on the enjoyment of what they are learning.
“It can be difficult at times, but it’s a wonderful challenge and it’s so satisfying for the students to look back [at] where they were on day one,” Larwin said. “It’s always a good idea to step back and see how far you’ve come, it’s encouraging.”

–Molly Svendsen

The Broadside
(Contact: msvendsen@cocc.edu)

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